At Presqu’ile Provincial Park, July has lived up to its reputation as the slowest month of the year for finding exciting birds. Even mid-winter, while having a much lower number and variety of birds, often has more genuine surprises for those who are willing to brave the elements. The only refreshing aspect of the last week of July is that a few southbound migrants have begun to appear.
An AMERICAN BLACK DUCK was at Gull Island on Monday, and a RED-BREASTED MERGANSER on Sunday, both species that have not been much in evidence this summer. Two GREEN HERONS were seen on two different days. A TURKEY VULTURE and an OSPREY were both perched on the beach (on different days). Shorebird numbers have not yet built up, the only migrant species being SEMIPALMATED PLOVER, SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER, and LEAST SANDPIPER, all in small numbers. Among gulls, there was a BONAPARTE’S GULL with a mostly black head and an immature GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL.
A flock of about 15 ROCK PIGEONS flew past the lighthouse yesterday. Two PILEATED WOODPECKERS were at the beach 2 parking lot this morning. PURPLE MARTINS have been replaced by BARN SWALLOWS as the most abundant swallow species in the Park this week. A BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER was seen and heard this morning, likely a newly returned migrant. More warbler species will be arriving shortly. Both male and female ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK have been at the lighthouse.
To reach Presqu'ile Provincial Park, follow the signs from Brighton. Locations within the Park are shown on a map at the back of a tabloid that is available at the Park gate. Access to the offshore islands is restricted at this time of year to prevent disturbance to the colonial nesting birds there.
Birders are encouraged to record their observations on the bird sightings board provided near the campground office by The Friends of Presqu'ile Park and to fill out a rare bird report for species not listed there.
Questions and comments about bird sightings at Presqu'ile may be directed to: FHELLEINER@TRENTU.CA.